Theater For The New City Presents Unreachable Eden 2/9-26
Theater for the New City, Crystal Field, Executive Artistic Director, announces the world premiere production of Unreachable Eden, a historical drama written and directed by Barbara Kahn, co-directed by Robert Gonzales, Jr., with music by Arthur Abrams. Featuring Zina Anaplioti, Christopher Comeaux, Ben Davis, Claire Epstein, Robert Gonzales, Jr., Gusta Johnson, Franco Pedicini and Steph Van Vlack. Set design by Mark Marcante. Costume design by Carla Gant. February 9 - 26, 2012, Thursdays - Saturdays at 8 P.M., Sundays at 3 P.M.
Tickets are $12. Information/Reservations: 212-254-1109.
Theater for the New City, 155 1st Ave@ 10th St. Subway: L to 1st Ave, 6 to Astor Place. www.theaterforthenewcity.net
Unreachable Eden is a stand alone sequel to The Spring and Fall of Eve Adams, Kahn's play about the real life Polish Jewish lesbian named Eve Adams (born Chava Zloczower), who ran a tearoom on Macdougal Street in Greenwich Village in 1926, where she promoted the early work of local writers, both male and female. At the tearoom, Eve held weekly poetry readings, musical performances and salons where sexual topics were openly discussed. Caught in an atmosphere of anti-immigration, homophobia and anti-Semitism, Eve was entrapped by an undercover policewoman who charged that Eve made unwelcome advances and offered her a book of short stories she had written about lesbians. Convicted of “disturbing the peace” and “disseminating obscene literature,” Eve was imprisoned for a year and a half and deported back to Europe as an “undesirable alien.” Throughout the 1930’s she tried unsuccessfully to return to the U.S.
Following the production of the first play, Kahn was given extraordinary access to the complete deportation file from the Federal government as well as correspondence and photographs courtesy of Eve’s relatives living in Israel. This incredible documentation, which includes testimony, inter-agency memos and letters of support, inspired Unreachable Eden, which begins with the deportation hearings and then shifts to Eve’s life in France prior to the outbreak of World War II.
While Eve was selling banned books to English-speaking tourists visiting Paris in the 1930’s, the Nazi government was banning and burning books in Germany and slowly implementing their war against Jews, homosexuals and others they deemed “undesirable.” These parallel worlds collided during World War II, once again putting Eve in triple jeopardy as a Jew, a lesbian and an immigrant.
Barbara Kahn (Playwright, Director) Barbara’s plays have been produced in the U.S., France and Germany. She has directed in New York, Paris, and at The National Theatre in London. Theater for the New City has been the primary New York City home for Barbara’s plays since 1994. Among her many awards, she was honored with the 1995 TORCH OF HOPE AWARD for lifetime achievement in non-profit theatre, following past recipients Terrence McNally, John Guare, August Wilson, Horton Foote and A.R. Gurney. Barbara was named best playwright in the 2005 Fresh Fruit International Festival for her play PEN PALS. She received the joint 2011 Robert Chesley Playwriting Award/Wurlitzer Foundation Residency in Taos, NM. With Jackie S. Freeman, she co-authored the lyrics to “Actions are the Music of the Free,” music by Jennifer Giering, performed at the United Nations Tribute to Dame Nita Barrow. A “short list of prominent post-1970’s playwrights who identify as Jewish and who have written about Jews includes Jon Robin Baitz, Richard Greenburg, Alan Havis, Barbara Kahn, Tony Kushner, Barbara Lebow, Jennifer Maisel, Karen Malpede, David Mamet, Emily Mann, Donald Margulies, Elizabeth Swados, Jeffrey Sweet, Alfred Uhry, and Wendy Wasserstein.” (You Should See Yourself: Jewish Identity in Postmodern American Culture. Vincent Brook. Rutgers University Press.) Member: The Dramatists Guild, Actors Equity Association and Screen Actors Guild. www.barbara-kahn.com
Arthur Abrams (Composer) is a veteran Lower East Side composer, music director, arranger and pianist. Theatrical scores include "The Iron Heel" based on a novel by Jack London, book and lyrics by Elizbeth Ruf-Maldonado; "Ludlow and Broome," book and lyrics by Ruthy Rosen; "The Further Adventures of Uncle Wiggily: the Windblown Visitors," book and lyrics by Laurel Hessing, "Abstinence" and "Lincoln Plaza" book and lyrics by Tom Attea; "The Golden Bear" and "Sketching Utopia," book and lyrics by Laurel Hessing, directed by Crystal Field; "Master and Margarita" from a novel by Bulgakov, adapted by Jean Claude van Itallie, directed by David Willinger; "The Open Gate," based on a novel by Isaac Bashevis Singer, adapted and directed by David Willinger; and "The Glory that Was" and "Library Love" book and lyrics by Walter Corwin.
Scores for musical revues include "Dropping In on the Earth," "A Little Old, A Little New," "It's An Emergency, Don't Hurry" and "Axis of Evil Vaudeville Revue." Abrams was composer, pianist, and music director for "The Golden Age of Second Avenue," a documentary film about the golden age of Yiddish Theater, often shown on PBS. (In the film, he accompanied Molly Picon.) He was music director and pianist for the Lambs Club presentation of "Yankel in America," starring Theo Bikel. Awards include a DAAD music fellowship to Mannheim, Germany, a scholarship to the Orff Institute at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria and a "Meet the Composer" grant for the score of "The Golden Bear."